Maldives president under fire for his government39s 39anti India39 stance

Maldives president under fire for his government's 'anti-India' stance – NDTV

The president of the Maldives is under fire for his government's

The Maldives has recently expanded its relations with China. (File)

New Delhi:

The Maldivian government's “anti-India stance” could have a detrimental impact on the island nation's development, the two main opposition parties warned, two days after the government announced a Chinese ship would dock at its port.

The warning words from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats come against the backdrop of strained relations between the two neighbors and the Maldives' affinity with China, a potentially significant geopolitical and military shift in the Indian Ocean region.

President Mohamed Muizzu won the 2023 elections with an anti-India narrative, a departure from his predecessors who pursued pro-India policies.

“Both the MDP and the Democrats believe that the alienation of a development partner and especially the country's oldest ally will be extremely damaging to the country's long-term development,” the two opposition parties said, calling India the “longest-standing”. -standing ally”.

In its assessment of the “direction of foreign policy”, the Maldivian government must work with all development partners as it traditionally does.

Read | Maldives asks India to withdraw military personnel by March 15: report

“Stability and security in the Indian Ocean is vital to the stability and security of the Maldives,” said the two opposition parties, which together hold 55 seats in the 87-member House of Representatives.

The remarks were made at a joint press conference attended by MDP leader Fayyaz Ismail, deputy parliament speaker Ahmed Saleem, Democratic leader Hassan Latheef and group leader Ali Azim.

The Maldives recently expanded its ties with China following a diplomatic row over Maldivian ministers' derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi following his visit to India's Lakshadweep Islands.

Read | “Welcome ships of friendly nations”: Maldives on Chinese spy ship

The country has also given India a deadline of March 5 to withdraw its troops – a deadline that follows President Muizzu's first state visit to China after his election. This was also his first port of call upon assuming office, another change from his predecessors who traditionally made India their first port of call.

Earlier this week, the Maldives announced that it had allowed a Chinese survey ship to dock at one of its ports to receive supplies, but it would not conduct “research” in Maldivian waters.

“The Maldives has always been a welcoming destination for ships from friendly countries and continues to host both civilian and military vessels calling at ports for peaceful purposes,” the Maldives said, a remark seen as further evidence of Male's departure from New Delhi and towards Beijing.